So, on the next day of our holiday we climbed a hill! Unfortunately, the Greeks had already planted their flag at the top, having got there a few millennia before us.
‘Acropolis’ roughly translates to high city, and the Parthenon which sits on top is the tourist attraction in Athens. It’s visible from all round Athens and I found myself scanning the skyline for just one more sight of it throughout the trip. On day two of our holiday, we strapped on our sensible shoes and went for a climb.
At the bottom of the slope is the Theatre of Dionysus, festivals were held in the name of Dionysus on this site since the 6th century BC. Dionysus was the god of wine so I guess his theatre held some rowdy parties in its’ time. In a story you might be more familiar with, he was also the god who gave Midas his golden touch (which became a curse when he realised he couldn’t eat or drink and his daughter turned to solid gold.)
Rich looking somewhat un-rowdy considering the surroundings.
Carved with intricate designs, marble thrones were made for festival officials and top priests. Women sat on the back rows, no carvings there.
Part way up our days climb: an overall view of the Theatre of Dionysus.
On the way to the top, you also pass another theatre, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. Impressively, it’s been completely restored and hosts concerts again. However, it’s only open for performances so you can’t get in during normal times.
The Parthenon was originally built as a treasury and to house the statue of Athena, from whom the city takes its’ name. She was gold plated, with ivory hands, feet and face and jewels for eyes. She stood 40 feet tall but was lost or destroyed in the 5th century AD. How does something so opulent go missing?
Admiring the view after a sweaty clamber to the top.
Seeing the Parthenon close up for the first time is a special experience, it’s just so iconic. We’ve all seen it on TV and in books, and it’s must be on everyone’s list of places to visit. The photo above, however, wasn’t our first glance. I thought I’d save showing you the scaffolding propping up the entrance. Above is the other end of the Parthenon, equally impressive I think.
Is it any wonder it needs scaffolding with columns like this? Over time, it’s been damaged by earthquakes, attacked by invaders and set on fire by a gunpowder explosion.
The Acropolis entry ticket is €14 and gives you access to a number of ancient sites around the city, including the Temple of Zeus…
Building work on the Temple of Zeus began in the 6th century BC, and amazingly it wasn’t completed until Hadrian (of Hadrian’s Wall fame ) came along 700 years later. Not satisfied with finishing someone else’s temple, he commissioned another monument for himself; the Arch of Hadrian.
The arch is a crossroads separating the ancient and Roman parts of the city. We sat in some shade nearby, taking in the view and thinking about our own crossroads: Where should we go for dinner?
No, I didn’t resort to eating olives from the trees, but I did pick one as a new accessory like in my last post.
I’m going to try and make my holiday blogging a bit more frequent as there’s a lot to get through, so more of the same in the next few days. Hello and thank you to my new followers as a result of my last post, it would be great to hear your comments!
So, what do they say of the Acropolis where the Parthenon is?